Britain attractions use Mandarin names to lure more tourists from China

Britain attractions use Mandarin names to lure more tourists from China

BEIJING - The United Kingdom is introducing a set of Chinese names for its popular destinations to attract more Chinese tourists, according to British media.

London's Savile Row will be known as Gaofushuai Jie, or "Tall, Rich, Handsome Street", the soaring Shard building will be named Zhaixing Ta, which means "Star Plucking Tower", and the kilt-wearing Scotland's Highland Games will become the Gaoyuan Yongshi Dahui, or "Strongman Skirt Party".

They are among a list of Chinese names conceived for 101 British tourist attractions to be unveiled on Monday after an online vote, according to the Financial Times.

According to the report, the Chinese-friendly translations are part of a tourism campaign by VisitBritain, the country's national tourism agency, to lure more high-spending Chinese visitors.

Compared to Europe's other destinations, such as France and Italy, the UK appeals less to Chinese tourists as they will need a UK visa, which is separate from the common Schengen visa that covers most European countries, in order to enter.

Tourists from China spend an average of £2,508 (S$5,243) per visit, compared with the overall average of £640, according to VisitBritain via the Financial Times. It aims to boost revenue from Chinese tourism to £1 billion annually by 2020, up from £492 million in 2013.

"China is a different country with a different language and British names don't mean anything to Chinese necessarily," said Robin Johnson, head of overseas operations at VisitBritain.

"This (campaign) creates names that actually bring to life what the attractions are. We need to bring out the warmth and the welcome, which is so important to Chinese visitors."

Over the past 10 weeks, a total of 13,000 names were suggested by Chinese users in the naming contest on VisitBritain's Chinese website.

The winning entry, which bagged 15,177 votes, is for a village in Wales called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which boasts the longest place name in Europe. But the name coined by an Internet user, identified as Qiao Chen, comprises only three Chinese characters: Jianfei Cun, or "Healthy Lung Village".

Qiao Chen explains in the report: "This village has a very long name and it is said that its inhabitants always say the whole name in one breath, showing that they have big and healthy lungs."

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